Rescue Flotilla on Omaha Beach
Il faut noter la
participation de vedettes de 19m des Coast Guards, flotille formée
spécialement pour le sauvetage des naufragés du
débarquement. Ils avaient des équipements de relevage
spéciaux et des moyens médicaux (Coast
Guard Rescue Flotilla).
weeks prior to D-Day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt suggested that Operation
Neptune needed a rescue flotilla. Since resources were stretched to the
limit the commander in chief of the Navy, ADM Ernest King, looked to the service
dedicated to life saving at sea. The Coast Guard had 60 83-foot patrol boats,
nicknamed the "matchbox fleet," on anti-submarine duty along the East Coast of
the United States. Although they were constructed of wood and had gasoline engines,
hence the nickname, they were available and had trained crews. King ordered them
to New York harbor where they were hastily put aboard freighters and shipped to
The matchbox-fleet patrol boats kept busy rescuing survivors along the entire Omaha beachhead and the experience of one of these diminutive patrol boats typified the role of the cutters that day. The CGC-1 formed up with the Omaha assault force and arrived at its station at 6 a.m. It escorted a group of LCVPs to the beach. Two miles offshore a lookout spotted men from a sunken British LCA in the water and the CGC-1 went to their assistance. The crew had to jump overboard and tie lines to the survivors because they were too cold to help themselves aboard. They succeeded in pulling 24 soldiers and four Royal Navy sailors from the Channel. They then sailed back to the transport area and transferred the survivors to the Chase.
CGC-1 then returned to the waters off Omaha. At 9:45 a.m. they
recovered 19 survivors from the LCI(L)-91, 14 of whom were part of the
LCI's Coast Guard crew and transferred these men to the Chase and
once again returned to their station. They spent the better part of the day within
2,000 yards of the beach under enemy machine- gun, mortar and artillery fire.
No crewman was injured and the crew returned to Britain unscathed. On the beaches,
however, the day was not going well.